Four maternity units are still not allowing partners to attend emergency pregnancy cases
Still not good enough.
The restrictions surrounding partners attending scans, appointments and births have been the cause of extreme stress and agony for pregnant women in Ireland.
Partners of pregnant women were advised not to attend maternity appointments during Level 5 restrictions due to infection control measures, in order to keep both pregnant women and the staff who care for them safe. However, after the number of cases fell to a rate considered ‘low’, and healthcare staff were vaccinated, these very restrictive guidelines were lifted – much to the relief of expectant parents across the country.
However, after a number of stories were raised of partners not being permitted to attend appointments, several mothers’ and women’s advocacy groups began calling for partners to be allowed to attend prenatal appointments, the delivery suite and postnatal wards.
Unfortunately, despite several members of the Government and HSE agreeing that partners should be permitted to attend, the reality is that many partners are still being refused to attend maternity appointments.
Earlier this week, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly gave an update on the situation, and admitted the issue of partners attending emergency and high-risk maternity appointments has been a source of “frustration” both for women, families, the HSE, and the Government.
Speaking to an Oireachtas Health Committee, Donnelly said the current HSE guidance on partners attending hospitals is that daily visits, which is a minimum of 30 minutes for:
- the anomaly scan (20-week scan),
- the neonatal intensive care unit, and
- the birth, right from the start of labour until the end.
He said his officials have surveyed compliance with emergency presentations at all 19 maternity hospitals and units and as of this week:
- 18 of the 19 units are allowing partners to attend early-assessment units
- 12 of the 19 are allowing partners to attend in cases of high-risk pregnancies
- 15 of the 19 are allowing partners to attend in cases of emergency presentations.
“I am engaging with the HSE to get up to full compliance across all 19 units – it is a lot higher than it was,” Donnelly said.